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10 Essential Books About Gambling

Gambling isn't most often associated with reading. Still, there is quite a lot of fiction and non-fiction literature on this topic. There are so many books that we had a hard time choosing the 10 entries for our article.

We had to skip quite a few excellent player-guides, novels, and real-life gambler accounts. However, the list turned out to be a great mix of genres and styles. We cover everything from real-life crime and educational books to an award-winning classic.

Read on to see our recommendations.

Casino: Love and Horror in Las Vegas

Casino: Love and Horror in Las Vegas

If you like intriguing stories about love, hate, and real-life monsters, this one will thrill you to the bone. Casino: Love and Horror is a book by Nicholas Pileggi, a crime journalist. In this true story, the author describes the Las Vegas gambling scene in the 70s. The main plot revolves around Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal and Anthony Spilotro's dealings.

The book's 1995 movie adaptation by Martin Scorsese starred Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone.

The Biggest Game in Town

The Biggest Game in Town

This is documentation of the World Series of Poker of 1981. Al Alvarez was an amateur poker player himself. But the Oxford-educated poet had never attended such a large-scale event as WSP. So, naturally, the classy Englishman was excited to meet all the fascinating players and witness the thrill of high-stake poker games.

For the entirety of the tournament (3 weeks), the writer followed the mad energy and hustle surrounding the American poker culture. It managed to capture the vibrant atmosphere of Las Vegas and poker as a way of life. It's fun, well-written, and as the Washington Post review stated at the time, “Thoroughly entertaining.”

We're almost sure that poker enthusiasts among you would be thrilled to take a look at old-timey Las Vegas and compare it to the one today.

Bringing Down the House

Bringing Down the House

Even if you're a casual gambler, there's no way you’ve missed out on the talks about card counting as a gambling technique. The “father” of the method, MIT mathematics professor Edward O. Thorp was the first to research probabilities related to blackjack. But six students took the research into the field, playing at the best casinos in the country.

They won more than $3 million, dominating the house edge due to the perfected mathematics applied to the game of 21. This is one of those books that, while scrutinized, showed how much hard work goes into becoming a great gambler.

Although this book's summaries tend to regard it as a true story, it allegedly contains some fictional elements. Either way, for a casino enthusiast, Bringing Down The House can be a massive inspiration.

Sharp Sports Betting

Sharp Sports Betting

When you think about sports betting, reading a book might not cross your mind. First of all, the necessary skills are more hands-on, so you might be better off finding a mentor. Second, the betting industry changes by the hour: a book on that topic might not be relevant when you eventually read it.

However, Sharp Sports Betting manages to capture the essential information any beginner needs before jumping into the game. The material outlines the main bet types and strategies, teaches the mathematical foundations behind sports wagering, and gets you excited about the process. Although Stanford Wong emphasizes the NFL, you can still gain a lot of useful information on wagering in general.

Duelling With Kings

Duelling With Kings

Daily Fantasy Sports is a relatively new but highly competitive and sometimes even brutal industry. It doesn't allow for hesitation and doubt. This story is Daniel Barbarisi's take on the fast-paced billion-dollar betting environment, as he tries to figure out how to beat the system.

Duelling With Kings came out a few years ago. While the industry is shaping up and changing, this entry still manages to convey the chaotic nature of DFS. For too long, unaware people have been thinking about DFS as an extension to normal sports viewing. Saying that this book challenges the notion is saying nothing. This entry is a must-read for every sports bettor.

How to Make $100,000 a Year Gambling for a Living

How to Make $100,000 a Year Gambling for a Living

There are many misconceptions about earning a living in casinos. Most people think that gamblers are all about shiny limos and lavish lifestyles. Some despise gamblers for other reasons. No one ever thinks to praise pro players for all the hard work and practice they have to put in to achieve greatness.

Mathematical principles, practice, patience, and passion: skill-based gambling is a hard craft to master. Those who do, make it to the top of pro tournaments to finally reach the glam. In this book, David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth do a great job explaining skill-based games and how you can make money playing them.

Beatwebcasinos.com: a Shrewd Player's Guide to Internet Gambling

Beatwebcasinos.com: a Shrewd Player's Guide to Internet GamblingWhile it was released at the beginning of the 2000s, this book is surprisingly descriptive about today's internet gambling scene. Bill Haywood outlines how to take advantage of internet gambling and stay alive, and he does it in a fun and engaging way.

The book takes a holistic approach to internet casinos, bonuses, and being savvy while gambling online. Yes, some parts are dated, but it's a must-read for anybody interested in the topic.

The Man With the Golden Arm

The Man With the Golden Arm

We had to include a classic on our list. While the novel isn't entirely about gambling, it takes you back in time and puts you into the shoes of a WWII soldier who's trying to piece his life together. Being a gifted musician, with aspirations to advance his career, he has to work a night-shift at a casino to make ends meet.

Drugs, theft, passion, and gambling: this novel by Nelson Algren has it all. No wonder it won the 1950's National Book Award.

Gambling 102

Gambling 102

This gambling guide by Michael Shackleford is more of an intermediate course on various tactics and strategies. It's aimed at people who are already familiar with the basics and want a deeper dive into the mathematical analysis of winning more at casinos.

The book talks about 19 casino games, deconstructing them so that you can see the essence and understand how to win them. Among all the games described in the book, sports betting and Three Card Poker get special treatment.

This publication was a long-awaited treat for “Wizard of Odds” fans when it first came out. 

The Frugal Gambler

The Frugal Gambler

Talking about frugal gambling might seem counterintuitive after our previous entry. Still, we have to present to you all the sides of the game. While some gamblers sit in presidential suites and go on to wager $100,000 on one hand of poker, some others make smart and savvy decisions about their entertainment.

The goal is to gain an edge against the house. In this book, you'll learn everything about using coupons and getting more comps from flights and at casinos. Jean Scott's “Frugal Gambler” is all about less shiny and more calculated steps to rip as many benefits as you can.  

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Conclusion

Finding inspiring books about gambling isn't as hard as you might think. While these recommended ones cover the whole range of genres, there are tons more where these are coming from. Whether you want to improve in card counting or enjoy a fictional story, the choice is yours.

Conrad Brennan
Former Author
University of Toronto
BA of Business and Marketing
Expert in:
  • Games reviews
  • Slot reviews
Reviewed by Head of Content:
Dmitry Rogalchuk
Last updated on: 17.02.2024

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